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Isambard Kingdom Brunel [Paperback]

L.T.C Rolt , Angus Buchanan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 11.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Jan 1990
Engineering genius, technical innovator and one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel changed the face of the English landscape with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions. L. T. C. Rolt's masterly biography is the definitive work on Brunel, tracing the life, times and monumental achivements of the man who helped to build modern Britain.

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel + Thomas Telford + Brunel: The Man Who Built the World (Phoenix Press)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Rev Ed edition (25 Jan 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140117520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140117523
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

L. T. C. Rolt was born at Chester in 1910. After his education at Cheltenham College he embarked on am engineering career, until he decided to turn to writing. Among his many publications were biographies of Thomas Telford and George and Robert Stevenson (both published by Penguin). Mr Rolt died in 1974.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, entertaining and fascinating 18 Jun 2004
Format:Paperback
Biographies of engineers can fall into a stereotypical format. A chapter on their childhood and education, then a series of chapters discussing their main works. Personal insight is usually minimal.

Rolt's biography of Brunel is light-years away from this - it is first and foremost a portrait of a complex, ambitious and determined genius, with his engineering placed in a personal, social and historical context. The chequered career of his father and his family background serve to place Isambard in context, too.

Sure, if you want to know how much per foot the rails on the GWR weighed, it's here, but you'll also find fascinating fragments of Brunel's diaries and letters, descriptions of London society in the early nineteenth century, and the remarks of many of those whose paths Brunel crossed during his life.

Brunel's own words are as vigorous and fascinating as those Rolt uses; this is a lively, fast-paced book covering all aspects of a very full life full of innovation.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling account 27 Aug 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a very engaging read - Rolt's enthusiasm for his subject shines out. This is a full account of Brunel's life and work, with interesting (but not unduly technical) detail on the engineering side. Rolt has been accused of painting too rosy a picture of Brunel - you can read other biographies if you are concerned about that - but you cannot beat this one for inspiration!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius Engineer 27 Aug 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Isambard Brunel was an engineering genius, a technical innovative icon out of the top drawer and one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution. His imagination, innovation and sheer manic drive saw Brunel overcome the engineering problems of the day with radical new designs and concepts in regard to the design and construction of ships, railways, bridges and tunnels. He simply changed the face of the English landscape and maritime travel with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions....a man whose engineering masterpieces were years ahead of his time.

L. T. C. Rolt's masterly, authoritative and descriptive biography is the definitive work on Brunel, tracing the life, times and monumental achievements of the man who helped to build modern Britain. He portrays a genius of a man who eventually worked himself to death....fascinating reading on the era where we moved from the horse to the train and from sail to steam sea travel...an excellent read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars visionary engineer 1 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A first-class biography of the man and his times. Vividly brings the legend to life, setting him against a backdrop of society and politics. Excellent and inspiring. Remarkable man, remarkable story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and unexpected insight 4 Aug 2012
By Nick G
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Highly revealing and often surprising exploration of Brunel. Readable, yet sufficiently (accessibly) detailed on the engineering to expose the intelligence and creativity of this amazing man. The incredible energy, vision and tenacity behind the achievements, and their scale came as a shock. The human aspects of Brunel's life, in terms of relationships, successes and failures are handled with sympathetic objectivity, and subtle humour by Rolt in understated, often wry observations of the human nature of the protagonists. I can fully understand why this is considered the definitive chronicle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brunel 4 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
i enjoyed the read very much.i found it very informative and gave a great insight into the life of brunel and the background to his upbringing.i also liked the detailed descriptions of his inventions and how his determined character got him through the problems he faced.i would recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in brunel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight in a colossal personality 18 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a book that not only makes the reader understand the order of magnitude by which Brunel exceeded everything else in his time, but also what an unimaginably driven person he was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does justice to an incredible man 5 April 2013
By Snoozy1
Format:Paperback
I have a keen interest in all things related to the Industrial Revolution, and had been looking for a decent Brunel book for a while (I am a frequent visitor of the Brunel Museum in London). This appeared to be the most popular choice and didn't let me down. I had read many of the basic facts elsewhere, but this goes in to detail and is packed with interesting facts and stories. I am obsessed with hidden structures like the Thames Tunnel, and it was fascinating to read more about how long it took to build. Perfect for dedicated fans of Brunel's work, and newbies alike.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory purchase
Always quite happy with purchase of books from your website. Look several times a week for other books to buy
Published 27 days ago by Jane Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
A true genius who only saw the possible in the impossible. Most of what he built is still standing now and working. Tunnels under the Thames and Bridges of great beauty. Read more
Published 1 month ago by bondy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and sycophantic
Rolt's book is a classic. His admiration of Brunel borders on worship, and so nothing that went wrong was ever Brunel's fault. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Augustus Germanicus
5.0 out of 5 stars Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Husband delighted with this purchase. see previous review. An amazing life story. Nearly a French story, but he saw sense and moved to Britain.
Published 3 months ago by sue oliver
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Bought for my husband, who has enjoyed the book very much and as an engineer, has found it extremely interesting.
Published 9 months ago by Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book and engineer
Was good to read, hes a true inspiration to the developed world, even though he built most of his creations a long time ago quite a few can still be seen today
Published 11 months ago by CL
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Cover of book was tea stained and creased. In fact whole book looked grubby. It was not near the condition I was expecting
Published 11 months ago by Lawrence Foye
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Brunel Biog
This is the best Brunel biography and a perfect introduction to LTC Rolt who also wrote biographies of Telford and the Stephensons, not forgetting Red for Danger about signalling. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jonathan Dove
5.0 out of 5 stars genius
this is a fine book about a really great man , a british leonardo . if he was around today he wuold soon sort out any water shortage problems. Read more
Published 24 months ago by buggsy
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but far from Impartial
An entertaining read but the author has a far from impartial attitude towards the subject. The author's affinity with Brunel sometimes leads to almost a rant about the subject's... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2011 by Beard
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